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Manchester City and Liverpool write an exciting new English 'Clasico' chapter in the friendliest managerial rivalry

Football rivalries are often difficult to define. (Author: Gardener)

Manchester CityFootball rivalries are often difficult to define. This is in large part due to the numerous complex historical, sometimes political, reasons that have shaped decades-long feuds between two opposing fan groups. In recent seasons, Liverpool and Manchester City have provided fans of English football with some of the most exciting duels the English Premier League has ever seen. The fact that these two clubs essentially played each other in a league of their own in the division has created a certain disdain between the sides and their fans. But prior to the last four seasons, neither fan would have a bad word to say about the other lost. The current iterations of these two sides are probably the most talented this league has seen, but a duel of talent alone doesn't make a great rivalry. This duel has undoubtedly earned the label of English football's new "Clasico" bestowed on it by some sections of the media, although it certainly lacks the punch of its Spanish namesake. Even Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp, two intense characters widely regarded as two of the greatest tactical masterminds of their generation, did their best not to arouse any animosity in the build, with both men giving each other plenty of praise. Klopp called his counterpart 'the best coach in the world' and Guardiola returned the favor by insisting the German 'make world football a better place to live'. Guardiola even went so far as to say he believes that the Liverpool team is "the toughest opponent I've faced in my 13 years as a manager." READ: Security forces in Qatar face conditions that "equate to forced labour". Ferguson and Arsene Wenger dominated the headlines for weeks leading up to the often epic clashes between Manchester United and Arsenal. The rivalry peaked in 2004 when United ended Arsenal's 49-game unbeaten streak with a 2-0 win at Old Trafford. After the game, the coach and player exchanged words before Ferguson was hurled in the face with a slice of pizza - the incident was dubbed the "pizzagate" or "battle of the buffet". There had even been a physical altercation on the touchline before that: see Wenger and Jose Mourinho in 2014. But when a bromance on the touchline flourished at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, the players on the pitch had the memo during a thrilling 2-2 Certainly not a draw in a game with Liverpool twice he came from behind after Kevin de Bruyne gave City an early lead and Gabriel Jesus gave the home side a 2-1 lead. The Liverpool players in particular seemed intent on angering their opponents and making matters as fiery as possible. Referee Anthony Taylor certainly played. He helped fuel the increasingly hectic atmosphere by allowing a number of fouls to go unpunished. Fabinho in particular was perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch after planting his cleats on Bernardo Silva's ankle during a lunge r the ball. The stewards also had their hands full pushing out a number of Liverpool fans, who appeared in the home team after Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane equalized for the visitors. On one occasion, two stewards had to fend off the advances of a City fan who aimed a wild haymaker at the Liverpool supporters who had been led away. Kevin De Bruyne (right) was brilliant against Liverpool. On the pitch, the quality on offer remained unbelievably high throughout, with Klopp and Guardiola constantly scampering around in their technical areas, shouting instructions into their players' ears whenever one of them was within earshot. De Bruyne in particular was a phenomenon. Even if Karim Benzema made his claim as the world's best footballer against Chelsea in the last Champions League quarter-finals, the Belgian was able to make his own claim to that title in Sunday's game. 'He's got everything... he's the complete striker': Karim Benzema continues to claim to be the best player in the world. Not only was De Bruyne the orchestra for everything that City produced, he was the engine of the team. Even as the clock ticked into injury time, the Belgium international was always the first City player to chase the ball when Liverpool were in possession. It's hard to say which team will leave Sunday's game happier with the 2-2 draw. City were probably superior overall and will be frustrated that they didn't deserve the win, but still walk away with their points advantage intact at the top of the table. Liverpool, meanwhile, will know they were overplayed in the first half and will be relieved to have salvaged a draw and need a slip from City if Klopp's side are to have a shot at the league title. A thrilling draw was a just result for two teams that have been almost inseparable not only this season but also in the last four. In their last 145 games, City have accumulated 339 points, just one more than Liverpool over the same period. The managers unsurprisingly ended the game in amicable fashion, exchanging a meaty high five and a bear hug. Although neither player gave an inch, the pitch remained warm after the final whistle, receiving praise from a number of players in red. In the media conference after the game, Guardiola was asked by The Athletic if he would line up his team to make it more like Liverpool plays. "Yes," was his reply.

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Manchester City and Liverpool write an exciting new English 'Clasico' chapter in the friendliest managerial rivalry

Football rivalries are often difficult to define. (Author: Gardener)

Manchester CityFootball rivalries are often difficult to define. This is in large part due to the numerous complex historical, sometimes political, reasons that have shaped decades-long feuds between two opposing fan groups. In recent seasons, Liverpool and Manchester City have provided fans of English football with some of the most exciting duels the English Premier League has ever seen. The fact that these two clubs essentially played each other in a league of their own in the division has created a certain disdain between the sides and their fans. But prior to the last four seasons, neither fan would have a bad word to say about the other lost. The current iterations of these two sides are probably the most talented this league has seen, but a duel of talent alone doesn't make a great rivalry. This duel has undoubtedly earned the label of English football's new "Clasico" bestowed on it by some sections of the media, although it certainly lacks the punch of its Spanish namesake. Even Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp, two intense characters widely regarded as two of the greatest tactical masterminds of their generation, did their best not to arouse any animosity in the build, with both men giving each other plenty of praise. Klopp called his counterpart 'the best coach in the world' and Guardiola returned the favor by insisting the German 'make world football a better place to live'. Guardiola even went so far as to say he believes that the Liverpool team is "the toughest opponent I've faced in my 13 years as a manager." READ: Security forces in Qatar face conditions that "equate to forced labour". Ferguson and Arsene Wenger dominated the headlines for weeks leading up to the often epic clashes between Manchester United and Arsenal. The rivalry peaked in 2004 when United ended Arsenal's 49-game unbeaten streak with a 2-0 win at Old Trafford. After the game, the coach and player exchanged words before Ferguson was hurled in the face with a slice of pizza - the incident was dubbed the "pizzagate" or "battle of the buffet". There had even been a physical altercation on the touchline before that: see Wenger and Jose Mourinho in 2014. But when a bromance on the touchline flourished at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, the players on the pitch had the memo during a thrilling 2-2 Certainly not a draw in a game with Liverpool twice he came from behind after Kevin de Bruyne gave City an early lead and Gabriel Jesus gave the home side a 2-1 lead. The Liverpool players in particular seemed intent on angering their opponents and making matters as fiery as possible. Referee Anthony Taylor certainly played. He helped fuel the increasingly hectic atmosphere by allowing a number of fouls to go unpunished. Fabinho in particular was perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch after planting his cleats on Bernardo Silva's ankle during a lunge r the ball. The stewards also had their hands full pushing out a number of Liverpool fans, who appeared in the home team after Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane equalized for the visitors. On one occasion, two stewards had to fend off the advances of a City fan who aimed a wild haymaker at the Liverpool supporters who had been led away. Kevin De Bruyne (right) was brilliant against Liverpool. On the pitch, the quality on offer remained unbelievably high throughout, with Klopp and Guardiola constantly scampering around in their technical areas, shouting instructions into their players' ears whenever one of them was within earshot. De Bruyne in particular was a phenomenon. Even if Karim Benzema made his claim as the world's best footballer against Chelsea in the last Champions League quarter-finals, the Belgian was able to make his own claim to that title in Sunday's game. 'He's got everything... he's the complete striker': Karim Benzema continues to claim to be the best player in the world. Not only was De Bruyne the orchestra for everything that City produced, he was the engine of the team. Even as the clock ticked into injury time, the Belgium international was always the first City player to chase the ball when Liverpool were in possession. It's hard to say which team will leave Sunday's game happier with the 2-2 draw. City were probably superior overall and will be frustrated that they didn't deserve the win, but still walk away with their points advantage intact at the top of the table. Liverpool, meanwhile, will know they were overplayed in the first half and will be relieved to have salvaged a draw and need a slip from City if Klopp's side are to have a shot at the league title. A thrilling draw was a just result for two teams that have been almost inseparable not only this season but also in the last four. In their last 145 games, City have accumulated 339 points, just one more than Liverpool over the same period. The managers unsurprisingly ended the game in amicable fashion, exchanging a meaty high five and a bear hug. Although neither player gave an inch, the pitch remained warm after the final whistle, receiving praise from a number of players in red. In the media conference after the game, Guardiola was asked by The Athletic if he would line up his team to make it more like Liverpool plays. "Yes," was his reply.

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Missed chances define thrilling draw for Man City as Liverpool linger in title race

After a highlight-filled clash at the Etihad, the Premier League champions are still in the lead with seven games to go - small as they may be. (Author: Gardener)

Man CityA second 2-2 draw of the season between City and Liverpool leaves Pep Guardiola's side a point clear at the top of the Premier League table with seven games remaining. In that sense, City's job was done: it has withstood the imminent threat of losing the lead and will clinch a fourth title in five years if it wins from now on. And yet, given how superior it has been in the past, there must also be a sense of a missed opportunity in the first half. One of the problems with the modern Premier League and the gulf that exists between top and bottom is that highlighting doubts can feel ridiculous. And yet there has been a feeling for some time that his high line could be vulnerable and that it had gotten away with it in certain games (against West Ham and Inter Milan). In that sense, this was a very modern high-level game. But in their last two games since the international break, wins against Watford and away at Benfica, Liverpool had been unusually sloppy. Add that to the back-and-forth nature of his game and the result was a first half like this. If Raheem Sterling had been a more matter-of-fact finisher, City would have taken the lead in the fourth minute. But within 40 seconds of that missed opportunity, they took the lead as Kevin De Bruyne rocked past a slightly shy Fabinho before unloading a shot that hit Joël Matip over the post. Liverpool were level within eight minutes, the two full-backs combining for Diogo Jota and the thought then was that after the early ferocity the game could settle down and start properly. But City continued their attack and could easily have regained the lead given the way the game was going, before Gabriel Jesus converted a João Cancelo cross from a half-cleared corner. Jesus had been a somewhat surprising choice; But not only did he cover Andy Robertson's forward runs well, he was a stubborn threat making runs from behind Liverpool's defence. At half-time, City had been almost alarmingly dominant, taking seven shots on Liverpool's two. Profligacy was an ongoing criticism of City (within its lofty parameters). Even as the half-time whistle blew, the thought was that Liverpool couldn't be that bad again and that City could pay for not finishing the game. Again it was a ball played from behind a defensive line that caused the problem. Mohammed Salah's precise pass gave Sadio Mané the second equaliser. Liverpool were much better after half-time – as was the case at Anfield earlier in the season – and spread chances more evenly in the second period. But City were probably still ahead, Riyad Mahrez hitting just the outside of the post with a late free-kick and then missing an even later one-on-one chance. City have not lost the xG (expected goals) battle in a league game since losing to Brighton in the third to last game of last season. But that failure to take risks means there are times when it doesn't win games where it did better, and that can be costly. In 2018–19, City held off Liverpool's challenge by winning their last 14 league games of the season. This time it only has to do half as much. Seven wins bring another Premier League title.

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Liverpool and Madrid maintain 2-goal lead

The Champions League semi-finals line-up will be decided this week, with Liverpool and Real Madrid needing to defend their two-goal lead to progress. The other two games are more definitive, with Villarreal and Manchester City only having a goal advantage. (Author: Gardener)

LiverpoolReal Madrid's players celebrate after teammate Lucas Vazquez, right, scored their team's second goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Saturday April 9, 2022. The Champions League semi-final line-up will be decided this week, with Liverpool and Real Madrid needing to defend their two-goal lead to progress. The other two games are more definitive, with Villarreal and Manchester City only having a goal advantage. Real Madrid's Casemiro, right, goes for a header with Getafe's defenders during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Getafe at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Saturday April 9, 2022. Real Madrid's Gareth Bale stands on the pitch during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Saturday, April 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez) (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez) (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez) game to avoid being upset by Spanish club Villarreal and keep alive his hopes of winning the quadruple title this season. The six-time European champions struggled from the start in the first leg against Villarreal and were anything but convincing in the 1-0 home win over relegation-threatened Augsburg on Saturday in the Bundesliga. Champion in 2020 by beating Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern's title defense last season was ended by the French side in the quarter-finals. Villarreal is attempting to reach the last four of the Champions League for only the second time since 2006. Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski celebrates after scoring the first goal of the game from the penalty spot during the Bundesliga soccer match between Bayern Munich and Augsburg at the Allianz Arena, in Munich, Germany, Saturday, April 9, 2022. Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was after the First leg openly defeatist and declared the title defense of the European champions over. While Chelsea's goal only holds third place in the Premier League, Madrid are cruising at the top in Spain. Madrid have won eight of their last nine games in all competitions, with the only setback being a 4-0 home defeat to Spanish league rivals Barcelona in March. City travel to Spain after a grueling draw with Liverpool that kept them at the top of the Premier League and saw Riyad Mahrez used only from the bench in the second half. It is a sign of City's strength that record-breaking British signing Jack Grealish was also absent from the starting XI after coming on as a substitute in Tuesday's first-leg win against Atletico, secured by a Kevin De Bruyne goal. Diego Simeone's side had no shot on goal in Saturday's 1-0 Spanish league defeat by City and just one against relegation-threatened Mallorca. Simeone rested several regulars against Mallorca, including striker João Félix, who is primed for a return against City, who have yet to win the Champions League despite spending more than $1bn on players since being taken over by Abu Dhabi in 2008 became. Augsburg's Jeffrey Gouweleeuw , left vies for the ball with Bayern's Robert Lewandowski during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Bayern Munich and Augsburg at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Saturday, April 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader) (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader ) With a two-goal lead, Liverpool could start contemplating their next cup task - an FA Cup semi-final game against Manchester City on Saturday. The prospect of a Champions League final with City remains alive if 2019 winners Liverpool can do the job against Benfica and then beat Bayern Munich or Villarreal in the semis. While Liverpool are six-time European champions, Benfica have not even made it to the semi-finals of the European Cup since 1990. To advance this time could require goals for Darwin Núñez, who has six games out of four - including the first leg against Liverpool . He scored a hat-trick in Benfica's 3-1 home win against Belenenses in the Portuguese league on Saturday.

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Man City control title race after Liverpool thriller

Man City remain a point clear of Liverpool after Sunday's showdown. Given the run-in from both sides, the champions should retain the title. (Author: Gardener)

LiverpoolMANCHESTER, England — It was epic, frenetic and unpredictable to the end as Riyad Mahrez not only had a chance to win the game but almost certainly win the Premier League title. Instead, the Manchester City substitute sent the ball high over Liverpool's crossbar and the 2-2 result means we're at a loss as to which of England's top two teams will become champions. What was certain, however, was that this was a game with everything, including VAR's intervention to correctly rule out Raheem Sterling's offside goal in the 63rd minute. By this time, Liverpool had twice equalized a City lead to level the score: Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus scored for the hosts, while Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane brought the away side back on terms. The result of 90 minutes end-to-end is that as both teams have seven league games to play, also the not inconsiderable affair of next Saturday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium (live stream: 10-10 :30pm ET, ESPN+) - Just a point separates the clubs that have dominated the Premier League for the past five years. - Takeaway Man City-Liverpool: Gabriel Jesus, Diogo Jota step up - How VAR decisions have affected every Premier League club "It was like a boxing match," said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. It was a great game and a result that we must and can live with and West Ham, there is for the players from Pep Guardiola to their season finale at home against Aston Villa, managed by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, little to worry Matches are always full of emotion and unpredictability, a home game against Tottenham on May 7th can also be risky, while Klopp's men also have to face Gerrard's Villa.As shown in this game, their top level is in a different stratosphere than the other team in the division so City's success in avoiding defeat and retaining top spot could ensure this will be the crucial day in the title race Speaking of quality, there was also a rare glimpse of nervousness and mistakes from the likes of Liverpool -Defender Virgil van Dijk, City keeper Ederson, Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah and City's Raheem Sterling. On an occasion where they had to look their best, it might come as no surprise that top performers suffered the odd wobble. Jota's persistence almost forced Ederson to concede an embarrassing first-half own goal and Van Dijk uncharacteristically beat De Bruyne down in the second half with a cynical foul worth the subsequent caution as it opened up the City midfielder's attack the gate stopped. Salah was in and out of procedure, his best moment coming 40 seconds after half-time when he scored Mane's goal while Sterling made too many poor decisions in key positions before being replaced by Mahrez with fifteen minutes to go. Liverpool's Joel Matip was flawless in central defence, as was his goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who made great saves against Sterling and Jesus as City rushed forward in the early stages. But the big winner on a day where teams shared points was Guardiola. The City manager got everything right, from his starting line-up to energetic high-press tactics and substitutions; Replacing Sterling with Mahrez was a key decision that increased the threat in the closing stages. It has become a bone of contention that Guardiola thinks about tactics and selections in the biggest games. Despite being a serial winner, recent examples in the Champions League - last season's final against Chelsea, when he started without a defensive midfielder and striker in what was an obvious opportunity - have seen him allow the opposition in enters his head. Picking Jesus from the start was another surprise here, but Guardiola was rewarded with a rare goal and incredible work from the Brazil international, whose energy cheered on the crowd and his team-mates around him. The pace in City's front line from Jesus, Sterling and Phil Foden caused countless problems for Liverpool and it was only in the second half after Mane's goal that Klopp's side calmed down and pulled back into the game. Even then, City always carried the greater threat and looked like the most likely winner, insofar as a draw was a good result for Liverpool, at least on the day. "We have to wait and see," said the Liverpool captain. We have to focus on ourselves and win as many games as possible. Henderson was a young Liverpooler when a slip tipped the balance of a title race. Perhaps a subliminal reference to Gerrard's mistake against Chelsea in 2014 serves as a reminder that anything can happen in the closing stages of the season. But City are on course to win their fourth title in five seasons and midfielder De Bruyne knows his side simply must maintain their form to lift the trophy on May 15. “Today we played very well; I think we had the upper hand,” said de Bruyne. "That's how we have to play the rest of the season. I know people said whoever wins takes the title but it's too hard, the schedule is too tough for both teams to win every game but we will to attempt." There are 21 points to play. If one side doesn't claim them all, they end up in second place.

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Arsenal's defeat by Brighton underscores Arteta's failure to learn Emery's lesson

Arsenal risk history repeating itself should Mikel Arteta fail to learn from Unai Emery's mistakes as the Gunners suffer another Premier League setback (Author: Gardener)

ArtetaArsenal risk history repeating itself unless Mikel Arteta learns from Unai Emery's mistakes as the Gunners suffer another Premier League setback. Mikel Arteta risks history repeating itself as Arsenal's hopes of a top-four finish suffer another setback in their quest for a top-four finish in the Premier League is leaving the club's supporters with a frightening sense of deja vu -Make you feel. On Monday, a 3-0 win at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace severely dented their ambitions to qualify for the Champions League next season - and it feels a lot like we've been here before. Back in April 2019, with a handful of games to play, the Gunners were primed for a top-four finish, as was the case before Palace. The north Londoners, then managed by Unai Emery, finished fourth in mid-April and retained a game in hand against fifth-placed Chelsea. A 3-2 defeat by Emirates to the Eagles marked the start of a monumental slide that saw the Gunners dashed their hopes of a top-four finish and allowed bitter rivals Tottenham to play to their fullest. Three years later, Mikel Arteta is in danger of history repeating itself. Three years ago, Emery's Arsenal failed to react after a Palace defeat. The lackluster loss was a sliding-door moment in the Gunners' season, which saw the Spanish tactician fail to stop the rot as his side capitulated. Will Arsenal finish in the Premier League top 4 this season? Unai Emery failed to stop Arsenal's relegation after losing to Crystal Palace in April 2019. This season Arsenal have managed just one win in their last four games after Palace's setback, losing two and drawing the other. Losing to the Eagles in April 2019 derailed the Gunners campaign and the Emirates team are in danger of experiencing the same thing again. After being overrun in midfield on Monday night and looking toothless in attack, Arteta didn't adjust his approach going into Saturday's clash with the Seagulls and quickly went off track. The deployment of Granit Xhaka at left-back for the second half at Selhurst Park did little to stop the onslaught and Arteta's decision to repeat that pick on Saturday backfired. History suggests that the notion that losing Palace on Monday night was just a bump is a dangerous line. In truth, Arsenal risk history repeating itself by squandering a promising pursuit of a top-four result and allowing fierce rivals Tottenham to steal another march. Emery failed to stop the slide at the end of the 2018/19 season and if Arteta isn't careful, he too could suffer the same fate. The Spaniard simply needs to find a way to stop the rot or see all his hard work this season quickly undone. Lessons must be learned from Emery's mistakes and Arteta must now heed the warning signs.

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Ligue 1 live stream, tv channels, how to watch online, news, odds, time

Pochettino hints at Mbappe as captain as future talks swirl (Author: Gardener)

1Paris Saint-Germain play Clermont Foot 63 in Ligue 1 this Saturday, with the leaders coming into play 12 points clear. Mauricio Pochettino is still missing some regulars but has hinted he could make Kylian Mbappe captain in Marquinhos' absence. Pascal Gastien's team is just above the relegation zone and desperately needs the points. The season is all but over for the injured duo of Leandro Paredes and Julian Draxler, while Marquinhos is also absent due to muscle pain and the birth of his partner. Clermont: Without a win in five and following a streak of four straight losses, Clermont are in desperate need of points and could be dragged into the relegation zone ahead of them if AS Saint-Etienne beat FC Lorient on Friday. PSG: Lorient's 5-1 win last week means PSG have two wins out of three but their overall form remains patchy and they are clearly stronger at home than away. Mbappe was on fire last week and hinted he could stay, so it's in Pochettino's interest to get another performance out of his players. A clear victory for PSG.

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Ten-man Lens in the lead! PSG loanee Kalimuendo hits the turn

PSG loanee Arnaud Kalimuendo scores his eighth goal of the season for Lens when he turns and scores to put the hosts ahead. (Author: Gardener)

LensWatch watch ten man lens lead! Ten-man Lens in the lead! PSG loan Kalimunedo scores on the turn PSG loan Kalimunedo scores on the turn PSG loan Arnaud Kalimuendo scores his eighth goal of the season for Lens when he turns and scores to put the hosts ahead. Watch BT Sport's unbeatable line-up of world-class live sport for just £25 a month

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PSG are looking for a long-term replacement for Real Madrid's Kylian Mbappe

Paris Saint-Germain are ready to spend big to keep Kylian Mbappe at the club as Real Madrid are sure he will join them this summer. Consequently, the French side are in negotiations to sign his likely successor. (Author: Gardener)

Kylian MbappeParis Saint-Germain are ready to spend big to keep Kylian Mbappe at the club as Real Madrid are sure he will join them this summer. Paris Saint-Germain are ready to spend big to keep Kylian Mbappe at the club as Real Madrid are sure he will join them this summer. Consequently, the French side are in negotiations to sign his likely successor. With 17 goals and 13 assists in 27 Ligue 1 games this season, Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe has emerged as one of the best players in the world and proved he already is one of the best. He will be out of contract at Parc des Princes after this season and it seemed a fair conclusion that he would join Real Madrid. They are willing to pay the 23-year-old a net annual salary of €25m and a €180m entry fee to keep him at the club, media in Spain claim. The club will pay his parents, who are also his agents, a €50m commission if he signs this deal. As speculation mounts over Kylian Mbappe's future, PSG have already started searching for his replacement ahead of the summer transfer window. The Red-Blues are negotiating a possible move with Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, according to French newspaper But!. As a result of this dispute, the forward has only made 12 appearances in the Premier League this season and has played a total of 36 games in which he has scored 12 goals. Having fallen behind striker Kai Havertz, he was limited to just two starts in the FA Cup. However, Chelsea certainly did not sign the striker for a record fee to serve as a back-up last summer. There's a chance the 28-year-old forward may be looking elsewhere for a new challenge. Moreover, Leonardo, the Paris Saint-Germain sporting director, is in touch with his agent Mino Raiola about a possible move.

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Neymar calls Messi and Mbappe 'geniuses' after PSG trio's spectacular win

Neymar hailed his hat-trick hero Kylian Mbappe and Paris Saint-Germain-backed King Lionel Messi as "geniuses" after beating Clermont 6-1. The Brazilian also echoed Mbappe's verdict that it was a "shame" that the superstar trio couldn't get together more often this season. Messi grabbed three assists in the Ligue 1 leaders' frenetic struggle […] (Author: Gardener)

NeymarNeymar hailed his hat-trick hero Kylian Mbappe and Paris Saint-Germain-backed King Lionel Messi as "geniuses" after beating Clermont 6-1. The Brazilian also echoed Mbappe's verdict that it was a "shame" that the superstar trio couldn't get together more often this season. Messi provided three assists in the Ligue 1 leaders' rampant away win on Saturday night, becoming the first player to have three assists twice in France's top flight since Opta data began for the 2006/07 competition, having previously registered three assists had given goals against Saint-Etienne in November. The former Barcelona captain averaged an impressive 0.73 assists per 90 minutes on the pitch in his debut season in Ligue 1, a team-best. Meanwhile, the trebles scored by Mbappe and Neymar meant they became the first Ligue 1 team-mates to score hat-tricks in the same game since Mbappe and Edinson Cavani did so against Guingamp in January 2019. Speaking of which, after scoring double-digit Ligue 1 goals this season, Neymar was delighted with PSG's performance and said the relationship between the top three is improving with every game. "I'm really happy to have scored my first hat-trick of the season," said Neymar. It's important that the chemistry between us gets stronger in every game.” Goals for our attacking trio in the last two games! The win was just the 14th time in all competitions that all three attackers have started together this season, prompting Mbappe to say it's a 'shame' that PSG fans have had to wait until now to see them regularly to see perform together. "Unfortunately, everyone didn't pretty much reach 100 percent until the end of the season," said Neymar, quoted on Ligue 1's official website. It's much easier to play with players who are very intelligent. PSG's last 11 goals in Ligue 1 have been scored by Mbappe (five), Neymar (five) or Messi (one) and Mauricio Pochettino's men are closing in on the French title. Neymar has now scored against 24 of the 25 opponents he faced in Ligue 1, excluding Brest, and the treble was his first since January 2018 when he scored four goals against Dijon.

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